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5 Essential Childhood Books

Updated on May 26, 2017

Reading is an important part of any childhood. It helps kids learn how to use their imaginations and creativity as well as helps them in school and with life down the road. Reading novels is also proven to make kids more empathetic because they are put in another person's shoes when reading a great novel. However, in an age of video games, movies, and social media, it's hard to get kids to sit down and read, and much harder to get them to appreciate it.

The best way to get them to love reading is by introducing them to great, interesting books. Like with anything, kids will associate books with strong memories they have. Think back to your childhood years. Have you ever been deterred from an activity because of a bad memory or a bad feeling of it? I know I have. I'll probably always associate mean girls with sports because of one isolated incident, but I'll always like hiking because I remember having fun doing it with my family.The worst possible thing is for kids to associate reading with being boring because then they might never like reading.

A Wrinkle in Time

Definitely one of my favorites growing up. It's a really good science fiction read about how a group of kids need to fight the darkness that's trying to take over Earth, and on the way they become trapped on a planet that has already succumbed to the darkness.

This book can sometimes be considered too smart for kids, and possibly for younger kids. I read it when I was about ten. But even if kids don't understand all that's being said in it, like what the fourth and fifth dimension is, they'll still enjoy the story. Also, this story has some good morals without beating you over the head with them. Like conformity is bad, and so is bullying, but it's not always good to fight back with violence. Also it shows that you shouldn't judge people on face value. Even though those are pretty clear messages in the book, I didn't pick up on it until I reread it when I was sixteen and even then I wasn't annoyed by it. It's just a great read that I think every kid should read at least once.

The Chronicles of Narnia

Okay, don't watch the movies. They're not bad as far as books-to-movies adaptations go, but they're not outstanding. But the books, yes! I'm rereading them again because I love them so much. Even though I've already read the first two twice already, I don't lose any enjoyment. They are all great adventures that are so much fun to read aloud to friends and family and to read by yourself in your favorite armchair. The Chronicles cover adventures in Narnia starting with the creation of Narnia in The Magician's Nephew (the prequel to The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe). This is a fantastic series that kids will love. Like A Wrinkle in Time, I think every kid should read these books (or at least the first one) at least once.

The Lightning Thief

If there's any books that will show kids that reading isn't boring-- and teach them about Greek myths (at least a little) it's the Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan. These books follow a misfit kid who finds himself getting into a series of scrapes that get explained when he goes to Camp Half-Blood, a camp for the half-human, half-god children of the Greek gods. There he finds out that he's the son of Poseidon, and he must help save the camp when the titan Kronos threatens to rebel against the gods and rule the world again. These books are hilarious with all of the character's sarcasm and wit. They're definitely fun for all ages even though they are basically middle grade novels. They're mostly on this list for their humor, which is definitely important in middle grade books.

The Magic Treehouse

Not only will these books be entertaining for kids just picking up beginner chapter books, but they also teach about history and classic stories. A brother and sister find an old treehouse in the woods near their house and when they go up they find many books there. They learn that the treehouse was created by Morgan L'Faye, and is designed to travel into the different books in the treehouse when a book is opened. The brother and sister do everything from travel with dinosaurs to Ancient Greece, to Outer Space, and they often do favors for Morgan L'Faye when she asks them to.

I haven't read all of the Magic Treehouse books, because they're a lot of them. But I've read several and the ones I have I've enjoyed a lot and I think these are great books for kids just learning to read without pictures.

Secrets of Droon

Like The Magic Treehouse, these books are great for kids at the beginner chapter book level. When cleaning out the basement one day, Eric and his friends discover a portal into a magical world called Droon, which is being attacked by an evil sorcerer. They must help the princess there save her kingdom, and make it home on time for dinner. Soon they become aids for the kingdom of Droon and they always know when Droon needs help when they dream about it. These are definitely good books to help kids enjoy reading because they are full of adventure and magic. I loved them as soon as I started reading them, and they're also great read aloud books to share with your kids when it's a rainy day and you want to pull them away from technology for a little bit.

Which Is Your Favorite Book?

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These are all some of my favorite childhood reads and I can't wait to share these stories and more with my own kids one day. What are some of your favorites?


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    • Kara Skinner profile image

      Kara Skinner 3 years ago from Maine

      Thanks for the kind comments, Suzette! I love the idea of starting the period with some silent reading and it's really cool the kids started to like reading more. It seems like you were a pretty cool teacher.

      I've heard of both of those books you mentioned, and I liked The Giver the second time I read it (the first time I was too young and I got too upset by the fact that a baby was killed to really enjoy it). Unfortunately, I've never read Tuck Everlasting, although I know the basic plot of it and I definitely want to read it, but I've never got around to it.

      Thanks for commenting and voting up!

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 3 years ago from Taos, NM

      Oh, what a great hub! I love the books you have suggested here. I haven't read them all, but the ones I have are wonderful for young readers. I have loved "Tuck Everlasting," "The Giver," well, these are the only two that are coming to mind right now. But, your point is so well taken - children need to read these books because they can open up their worlds of imagination.II was a teacher, I am retired now, but when I taught Language Arts, I always started the period with silent reading. It was difficult to get the kids to want to read at first, but by a couple weeks later, they were asking for more time to read than fifteen minutes. I had a bookcase of books of all levels of reading so even the 'reading impaired' kids could find something interesting to read. But, these books are great that you suggest. Voted up+ and shared.